BY JESSICA SWIETONIOWSKI
Going into the new-year I didn’t bother with the “new-year, new-me” vibe. Instead, I challenged myself to do something new that I’ve never done before every day for one week. It is a great way to force yourself out of your comfort zone, especially when you have people watching and waiting to see how you did. Each day I had to set time aside for a new challenge and commit myself to it. Here is how it went.
Day 1: Only water for a day
Limiting yourself to just water seems like an easy thing to do, but not for me. On an average day I barely drink any water at all. Normally, I start my days off with coffee and end the night with tea. Throughout the day I usually drink soda, juice, iced teas or flavoured waters. Changing one thing about your daily routine can really throw you off balance and I was definitely out of my groove. When I got to class in the morning everyone around me was sipping their coffees and I sat there grumpy. At one point I almost drank apple juice because it was offered to me– oops. By the end of the day, I drank about five bottles of water and couldn’t wait to wake up the next morning to the smell of coffee.
Day 2: Learn magic
For Day 2 I decided to learn some magic, which is something I’ve always enjoyed watching but never tried myself. Thankfully, YouTube has tutorials on just about everything and away I went. What you are about to watch is me concentrating really hard and failing at tricks a 10-year-old could probably master. Even though I failed here and there I still impressed myself a little and I hope you all enjoy the magic.
Day 3: No technology
A millennial going a day without their phone. The headline of the century, am I right? I woke up with no alarm and had to actually step outside to check the weather like I live in the stone-age or something. At times I found myself pacing around the house not knowing what to do next, I got tired of reading pretty quickly so I looked for stimulating things to do. I even brushed up on all that magic I learned the day before. I got to school almost an hour before my class started because I didn’t know what else to do. Waiting around with no phone or computer forced me to people watch and take notes– I may have looked like a crazy person. Sitting in class without a laptop made the class feel much longer than normal. Although, I may have absorbed the most information in that one class than any other day. When I got home that evening I felt myself losing it. I almost gave up on the challenge several times but I think I did pretty well. Watch the video and find out how well I really did.
Day 4: Build something
I had a lot more in mind for this challenge but I did what I could– which was going on Amazon and ordering a birdhouse making kit– that still counts as building something right? Either way, I sat down and got to work. Even though it probably took me longer than I thought it should have, I had fun doing it and will be proud to see birds stopping by for some snacks.
Day 5: No complaining
Not complaining for a day may have been one of the hardest things I’ve done. And you’d be lying if you say it would be easy. Safe to say, I failed this challenge. I started paying close attention to my thoughts and realized how many of those were negative. I tried to control what I said throughout the day but at times complaints would come out like word vomit– no stopping it. This is an extremely important challenge for people, to be aware of our thought process and to try to control what you say out loud. When we make comments to people it puts ideas in their head and sets off emotions, why not try to limit the negative ones?
Day 6: Learning a new language in a day
Since I am already bilingual I wanted to go in the complete opposite direction– learn Chinese. I downloaded an app and tried to get through as many lessons as possible in one day. I also tried google translate to learn some exact phrases. I don’t feel like I totally butchered it but I also haven’t tried speaking with a Chinese person to really put that to the test. At times I sounded more French than Chinese but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Day 7: Road trip alone somewhere new
I always like to travel but I never felt comfortable doing it alone. This challenge was the perfect opportunity for me to put pressure on myself to do things out of my comfort zone– like learn Chinese or go to a random town I’ve never been and talk to some locals. I always heard good things about Port Hope so off I went. The drive over was about 120 km and very relaxing. Once I got there I walked around the town noticing the old, beautiful architecture and cute shops. The cold weather led me to the first pub I came across. With no actual sign but some flashing neon in the small windows, I opened a big, heavy wooden door and a musky smell hit me in the face. I stepped in and all eyes were on me. All old men, except the older woman behind the bar, with no music playing– just conversation and laughter. Everyone knew each other, except the random girl who just walked in and sat at the end of the bar. Seemingly out of place I was surprisingly comfortable. I had a beer and read the Toronto Sun and started chatting with whoever was closest to me. Turns out I have a lot in common with 60-somethings. This bar had a small-town feel full of history and honest kindness. This isn’t the place 20-year-olds are going to pick up chicks. It was the place you went to enjoy a beer and good conversation, and it definitely won’t be my last time stopping by.